Former Indian selector Saba Karim is quite happy with the return of pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah and talented youngster Harshal Patel for the upcoming T20I series against Australia. Both speedsters missed the Asia Cup due to injuries and are making a comeback after undergoing rehab at the NCA in Bengaluru.
The duo is expected to boost India’s powerplay and death overs bowling. Speaking to India News, Karim said:
“With the return of Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel, our bowling is looking robust."
The former India wicketkeeper feels that playing against quality teams like Australia and South Africa will only benefit India ahead of the ICC T20 World Cup next month.
“I don’t think there will be many problems, but intense competition will be vital in the T20 World Cup preparations. Playing against strong teams will be beneficial. It’s the right call that India have planned such series to ensure we are fully prepared for the T20 World Cup.”
Rohit Sharma and Co. will play three T20Is each against World T20 Champions Australia and South Africa ahead of the ICC tournament. The Men in Blue will look to address their concerns in the six T20Is before leaving for Australia.
“These two areas are a big concern” – Saba Karim feels Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel will be crucial in powerplay and death overs
Saba Karim also said that both Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel possess the ability to pick up wickets in the powerplays and death overs alongside being economical.
“We must take wickets with the new ball [in upcoming matches]. If we take wickets in the powerplay overs, it means our bowling is strong. Another important thing is to bowl well in the last couple of overs, whether bowling first or defending a total.
"These two areas are a big concern for the Indian team and must be solved [ahead of the T20 World Cup].”
The former Indian cricketer added that Mohammed Shami, who has been ruled out of the T20I series against Australia due to COVID-19, should make a comeback for the T20I series against South Africa. This, Karim thinks, will allow selectors to keep him in the scheme of things for the T20 World Cup.
“It is very unfortunate for Shami and the Indian cricket team that now he will be unavailable. I hope he recovers soon and gets a chance to play against South Africa in the upcoming T20Is. His inclusion in the Indian team for T20 World Cup means selectors still look to him.”
“Thus, the selectors will observe Jasprit Bumrah and Harshal Patel regarding their fitness [in upcoming matches]. These two bowlers can cover bases for India, which we lacked in the Asia Cup. We need economical bowlers for the death overs.”
Shami was expected to play in the upcoming T20I series against Australia after a long gap, but COVID-19 dented his chances of a comeback.
The 32-year-old last represented India in T20Is during the 2021 T20 World Cup in the UAE. The right-arm speedster was sensational for the IPL 2022 Champions Gujarat Titans as he scalped 20 wickets in 16 matches.